We snaked through Times Square and up into Hell's Kitchen with the intention of devouring what was promised as, "The Best Burger in New York." I played along, despite my doubts (Spotted Pig? Zaitzeff? Morton's Steakhouse? Eh hem...Shake Shake?). He stopped me at a narrow restaurant which resembled spawning season in a slow river, "You better rethink this." "Let's see how long the wait is." He pushed through the wriggling patrons and managed to get us in immediately. Win.
Though dimly lit, the venue hosts a Southern California vibe and cozies you up in warm fatty scented air. Generic plastic ketchup and mustard squeeze bottles keep the company of stacks of napkins on the tables. We each ordered the basic burger, deciding that it was best to avoid the seemingly endless varieties of the classic. It's important to be purists. He sipped a Snapple lemonade, "You know- they don't have Snapple in London. Whenever I'm in town, I have this burger and a Snapple. It used to be ridiculous. Six dollars, eight is still cheap, but I would pay twenty for this." New to the menu, we also requested a basket of fries for sharing (previously baked potatoes and chips were placebos).
As our plates were placed before us, we carefully arranged towers of pickles, red onion, ripe beefsteak tomato and lettuce on our patties. I sunk in as he did to watch juices explode onto the white plates. Quite good, I would suggest medium-rare for full affect. The charred flavor stirred memories of childhood BBQs- as did the crappy dry sesame seed bun (let's work on that, ok Island Burger?) Granted, the juice from the burger did moisten! The fries come in a generous portion of crispy exterior with soft and potato-rich center. Regardless, they could be left off the table. Keep that burger on the hot seat.